« PreviousContinue »
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
Let them come;
Tell your nephew,
* Bewitch, charm.
FALSTAFF'S CATECHISM. ' Well, 'tis no matter: Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word ? Honour. What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! - Who bath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it:therefore I'll none of it: Honour is a mere escutcheon*, and so ends my catechism.
LIFE DEMANDS ACTION. 0, gentlemen, the time of lie is short; To spend that shortness basely were too long, If life did ride upon a dial's point, Still ending at the arrival of an hour. PRINCE HENRY'S PATHETIC SPEECH ON THE DEATH OF
Brave Percy, fare thee well.
+ Painted heraldry in funerals.
Enter Rumour, painted full of Tongues. 1, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth: Upon my tongues continual slanders ride; The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert enmity, Under the smile of safety, wounds the world: And who, but Rumour, who, but only I, Make fearful musters, and prepard defence; Whilst the big year, swoln with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures; And of so easy and so plain a stop, That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, The still-discordant wavering multitude, Can play upon it.
CONTENTION, like a horse Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose, And bears down all before him.
POST MESSENGER. After him, came, spurring hard, A gentleman almost forspent*.with speed, That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse : He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury? He told me, that rebellion had bad luck, And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold: With that, he gave his able horse the head, And, bending forward, struck his armed heels Against the panting sides of his poor jade Up to the rowel-head; and, starting so, He seem'd in running to devour the way, Staying no longer question.
MESSENGER WITH ILL NEWS. This man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretels the nature of a tragic volume: So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood Hath left a witness'd usurpationt: Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd.I see a strange confession in thine eye: Thou shak'st thy head, and hold'st it fear, or sin, To speak a truth. If he be slain. say so: The tongue offends not that reports his death: And he doth sin that doth belie the dead;
* Exhausted. + An attestation of its ravage.
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
GREATER GRIEFS DESTROY THE LESS.
THE FICKLENESS OF THE VULGAR. An habitation giddy and unsure Hath he, that buildeth on the vulgar heart. 0, thou fond many I! with what loud applause Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke, Before he was what thou would'st have him be? And being now trimm'd $ in thine own desires, Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him, That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
* Trifling. + Cap. Multitude. Dressed.